- Full name Ricardo Jose Sánchez
- Born 04/11/1997 in Puerto Cabello, Venezuela
- Profile Ht.: 5'10" / Wt.: 220 / Bats: L / Throws: L
- Debut 08/17/2020
Organization Prospect Rankings
he Braves acquired Sanchez in a 2015 trade that sent Kyle Kubitza and Nate Hyatt to the Angels. Hyatt retired and Kubitza hit .192 for the Angels, ending up back with the Braves when he hit waivers. Sanchez is the reason the trade could still avoid being irrelevant. Sanchez has better pure stuff than any lefthanded starter in the Braves' system other than Luiz Gohara. He will show three plus pitches at his best, including a 91-94 mph fastball, as well as a changeup and curveball, but he's never been consistent enough to have real success. He's a short lefty whose size gets in the way when he lets his release point drop, causing his stuff to flatten out. But when he stays tall in his delivery, Sanchez can get swings and misses and also locates better. His curveball isn't as consistent as his changeup and his control is below-average. The lefty also hasn't yet figured out damage control. Sanchez joined the 40-man roster in November and is headed to Double-A Mississippi. He's yet to put it together, but he'll be just 21 for the entire 2018 season.
The Braves obtained Sanchez from the Angels in January 2015 when they sent third baseman Kyle Kubitza and righthander Nate Hyatt to Los Angeles. Sanchez signed with the Angels for $580,000 in July 2013, which came a year after he was the winning pitcher for Venezuela against Cuba in the 15U World Championship. He made his pro debut in the Rookie-level Arizona League in 2014 prior to spending the first half of 2015 at low Class A Rome. The athletic Sanchez has a clean-and-easy delivery and the ball tends to jump out of his hand. All of his pitches have excellent movement, including a fastball that sits at 90-91 mph and touches 95. His curveball has a sharp 1-to-7 break, and he has shown a good feel for his changeup. He is willing to work inside but struggled with his control and command throughout his 10 starts in the South Atlantic League, after which the Braves shut him down to monitor his workload. Raw in many respects, Sanchez has significant upside and is working to keep up with his maturing body. Once he gains more consistency with his mechanics, he could develop quickly. He will return to Rome in 2016.
The Angels showed their renewed commitment to the Latin America market when they signed Sanchez, one of the top pitchers in the 2013 international class, on July 2 for $580,000. He previously had international experience when he was the winning pitcher for his native Venezuela against Cuba in the 2012 15U World Championship. The Angels brought Sanchez to instructional league when he was still just 16, and he made his pro debut in 2014 in the Rookie-level Arizona League just two months after his 17th birthday. Sanchez has a smooth, natural delivery that belies his age and experience level, but he needs more consistency in repeating it. The ball comes out of his hand effortlessly and he can spin a 70-75 mph curveball that projects to be a plus pitch. His fastball was in the 94-95 mph range at times after he arrived in the U.S., though the AZL coaching staff had him dial it back a bit in order to better command it. Sanchez needs to improve his 82-85 mph changeup so as not to rely on the breaking ball as much, and he's slowly been developing more of a feel for the pitch. Sanchez needs experience and health, but he has tantalizing upside. He most likely will remain behind in extended spring training in 2015 before reporting to Rookie-level Orem in June.
While many pitchers signed out of the Dominican Republic are scouted largely on the basis of workouts, the Angels in 2013 had a chance to see how Sanchez, a Venezuela native, handles the pressure of a game. Pitching in the gold-medal game of the 15U World Championship, Sanchez held Cuba to two runs in seven innings to pick up the win. Signed by the Angels for $580,000--more than a quarter of the club's international signing allotment for 2013--he immediately becomes one of the club's top pitching prospects. In a system full of future relievers, Sanchez stands out for his feel, delivery and easy arm action. Like most 16-year-olds, his curveball is erratic, but it flashes plus. Sanchez will have to prove he can keep his delivery under control. He and 2013 top pick Hunter Green are key cogs to improving the farm system as pitchers with starter traits. Sanchez is advanced enough to possibly jump straight to the Rookie-level Arizona League in 2014.
Minor League Top Prospects
Pitching for Venezuela, Sanchez defeated Cuba in the gold-medal game of the 2012 15U World Championship. One of the better pitchers in last year's international class, he signed with the Angels on July 2 for $580,000. The Angels brought him to instructional league at the age of 16 and kicked off his pro career in the AZL just two months after his 17th birthday. Sanchez draws high marks for his smooth, natural delivery, with the ball coming out of his hand effortlessly. He can really spin a curveball, which projects to be a plus pitch, but he needs to develop the changeup so as not to rely on the breaking ball so much. Scouts who had seen Sanchez dealing at 94-95 mph as an amateur were confused by his diminished velocity in the AZL, when he generally sat in the high 80s to low 90s. The Angels say that was by design. "We're trying to teach him how to be a pitcher and not a thrower," Angels pitching coach Ryan O'Malley said. "Back off a little bit and be a pitcher, and then when he gets the hang of it, then he can dig a little bit and that 94 (mph) will be there."